5 Questions for Composer Maria Kallionpää

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Dr. Maria Kallionpää is an internationally active composer, pianist, and toy piano performer. She was a holder of the AHRC and Scatcherd European Scholarships in 2010-2013 at the Oxford University and won the first prize of the OUPHIL composition competition in 2013. Moreover, she has graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien. Her works have been presented, for example, at Musikverein Wien, Philharmonie Luxembourg, and Sibiu Philharmonia. In 2011 Kallionpää was a composer in residence of the Turku European Culture Capital and a finalist of the Tenso European Chamber Choir Composition Competition. Kallionpaa has participated to various mixed-art projects incorporating film, video art, and theatre. soundcloud.com/m-kallionpaa

Maria Kallionpää will join colleagues from across the globe at the 2016 Florida International Toy Piano Festival in January 2016 presented by The New Music Conflagration, Inc.

1) How did you first become interested in the toy piano as a concert instrument?
I studied electroacoustic composition in Vienna.  My professor Karlheinz Essl introduced me to toy piano music: he has written many works for it and asked if I wanted to perform his composition “Sequitur V” (for toy piano and electronics). I have since then performed the piece several times in different occasions and also discussed it in my Phd thesis. I started to compose my own toy piano works in Vienna, too.

2) What influenced you to come to the festival?
A few years ago I visited as a composer another toy piano festival at Philharmonie Luxembourg. It was a very positive and inspiring experience. Once I saw the call for scores of this festival I immediately knew that I wanted to participate.   

3) Who is your favorite toy piano composer and why?
I like John Cage a lot because he was one of the first  composers who discovered the unique sonic possibilities of this very special instrument. Also Karlheinz Essl´s innovative use of toy piano in conjunction with electronics has significantly contributed to the development of toy piano repertoire.  

4) What do you see as the future of toy piano?
I see more and more pianists and composers getting interested in it. Because a great deal of toy piano compositions are rather new, a certain burden of lengthy performance tradition is missing. The performers can create their very own interpretations, which often cannot be taken for granted.

5) What local place or thing are you most excited to experience during your visit to the Tampa Bay Area for the festival?
I would like to get to know with the local music culture and of course other toy pianists and composers. It´s going to be exciting!



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